Last week I was invited, with several other bloggers, to attend a T.J. Maxx event at the company’s San Francisco store. The event was part of a complete overhaul of the company’s image, from a ho-hum, off-price retailer who caters to frumpy housewives, to a vibrant, fun store filled with fabulous designer finds. The typical T.J. Maxx shopper is now a Maxxinista, a nice play on the term fashionista – a fashion conscious woman who wants designer clothes but is unwilling to shell out the inflated department store prices.
I like T.J. Maxx’s use of social media, and the way the company incorporates its social media marketing campaign into its general marketing efforts. T.J. Maxx is going for a brand new image, and it is using a combination of traditional advertising (I love their TV ads) and social media marketing, in the form of the blogger outreach I was invited to, and vibrant Facebook and Twitter accounts, to achieve that image change. The company’s website itself has an interactive section where customers are encouraged to post photos of their latest fabulous finds.
The T.J. Maxx campaign is a great example of how a brand can effectively use social media to enhance its general marketing message. Assuming they reach out to 100 bloggers (there were 20 bloggers last week and I assume they’ll be holding similar events in other large cities), and each of those bloggers has on average 1000 regular readers, they’re reaching out to about 100,000 people through a campaign that costs them maybe $30,000 in gift cards to the participating bloggers and in travel accommodations. I’m guessing this is far less than the company’s TV ad budget, and unlike blanket TV advertising, the audience here is more targeted.
The only problem I saw with the T.J. Maxx social media campaign was that I’m not sure if and how they are going to monitor the impact of the campaign. They never gave us a link to include in our reviews – this could have been a no follow link to prevent issues of page rank buying – but such a link to a specific landing page would have enabled them to easily monitor the impact of this campaign. Perhaps they will ask an intern to go over the list of participating bloggers and check that against the company’s website analytics, but this seems like a lot of work.